Monday, June 29, 2009


Last night, we resumed our Sunday Night Dinners. The boys were so kind to give me last weekend off, you know- since I was going to be out of town and all. Haha. Anyway, my brother was solo last night, as his roommate was staying with family after recovering from shoulder surgery. I made one of our family's favorite recipes: Crock Pot Spaghetti! It is pretty much heaven on a plate. And the beauty of it is that you throw everything in the Crock Pot in the morning, and then come home to an amazing dinner waiting for you. I have to say...the Crock Pot has to be the most ingenious kitchen invention I have ever encountered. I am a HUGE fan. If you have any good recipes to share, please let me know!

Here is the Spaghetti recipe:

lb. lean ground meat
1 lg. onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 (1 lb.) cans tomatoes, chopped
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (12 oz.) tomato paste
1 cup beef broth
2 tablespoons parsley flakes
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Break up pieces of meat with fork. Combine meat in a slow cooker with remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on Low for 8 hours. Serve over hot cooked spaghetti.

My brother and I had a great night of just hanging out and eating good food. We rented the first Transformers movie; I had forgotten how good a movie it really is. My parents are coming into town this weekend, and we plan to go see the second Transformers movie with them. In the meantime, I am preparing for another CISR exam, but I am grateful it's only a 4-day work week!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Instead of Going Through the Motions...

This might hurt, it's not safe
But I know that I've gotta make a change
I don't care if I break
At least I'll be feeling something
Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of life

I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
Without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
What if I had given everything,
Instead of going through the motions?

No regrets, not this time
I'm gonna let my heart defeat my mind
Let Your love make me whole
I think I'm finally feeling something
Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of life

Cause I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wannt go one more day
Without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking
What if I had given everything,
Instead of going through the motions?

Take me all the way (take me all the way)
Take me all the way (cause I don't wanna go through the motions)
Take me all the way (I know I'm finally feeling something real)
Take me all the way

I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
Without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking
What if I had given everything,
Instead of going through the motions?

~ Matthew West

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Dad's Day!

This weekend I was able to go home to see my dad for Father's Day. While the weekend was super crazy, it was still great to be home with him. I am still incredibly blessed to have both sets of grandparents, and they all live in San Antonio. So not only do I get to celebrate my dad for Father's Day, I also get to celebrate both of my grandpas. I realize this is rare, so I do my best to cherish the time I have with them.

Several years ago, one of the television networks advertised a "Big Kahuna" Hawaiian weekend getaway for one lucky father. My brother and I tried very hard to win the vacation for my dad, but we were not the lucky winners. And we could not afford to send him to Hawaii on our own. So we decided to bring Hawaii to him. We decorated the entire house with Hawaiian decor, woke him up early on Father's Day and even packed his suitcase and "flew" him down the stairs to the Hawaiian vacation waiting downstairs. We made a huge throne for him, and ever since then, Father's Day has been deemed "Big Kahuna Weekend." How one day turned into an entire weekend, no one will ever know for sure. But even though we give him a hard time about it, it is always a fun way for us to celebrate our "Big Kahuna."

Where do I even begin to talk about my dad? There really aren't enough words. I admire my dad in so many ways. He has been the ultimate example of a true loving father. He has been the spiritual leader of our family, and I have learned from him what it looks like in practice to be a devoted follower of Christ. He is uncompromising in his faith and has so much godly wisdom. He has always been there for me, and he is an incredibly generous man. He always thinks of others before himself, and he has made so many sacrifices for our family.

I am so grateful for the relationship that God has given to me and my dad. I am blessed to have such a godly father, one who loves me no matter what. He reminds me that he loves me, tells me that he is proud of me, or sends me encouraging scripture verses on a regular basis. And absolutely nothing compares to a daddy hug.
Here we are this weekend at our favorite hamburger place- Chris Madrid's!

I love you dad, and I hope you had a great Father's Day!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Happy Birthday Sasha!

Today is my sweet baby's 2nd birthday! I can't believe it has already been 2 years since I fell in love with a pudgy ball of cuteness. I had wanted a puppy for a long time; I had grown up with dogs, but had never had a puppy. I was still living at home at the time, as I was still looking for a job after graduation, so I thought it would be the perfect time to introduce a puppy into my life. I had all the time in the world to train her, and really just needed something on which to focus my attention, something to cheer me up. I had done lots of research on the breed of dog I wanted; but then my neighbor across the street acquired 2 adorable black lab/boxer mix puppies from some friends. And of course, I made the mistake of going to check out the litter myself. I knew that going to see the puppies would be all it would take for me to fall in love.

Of course, I had to convince my parents, my dad specifically, that getting a puppy was a brilliant idea. I even made a PowerPoint presentation that outlined all the benefits of getting a puppy. No joke- it took a lot of convincing, and I had a lot of time on my hands. Lol. But he finally said yes, and I was on my way to puppy adventures!

When I visited the puppies, Sasha was the quiet one of the pack. While all the other puppies were running around, she came and laid under my chair and didn't leave my side. So I guess you could say she chose me. I took one look at that adorable face, and I just couldn't say no. So I picked her up and brought her home with me...and it has been a non-stop adventure ever since!

She has become so much a part of my life...I really can't imagine life without her. I would probably have less work and less hassle, but I wouldn't change a minute of it. Because when she snuggles up next to me and gives my arm a sweet kiss just to say she loves me and thinks I'm the's all worth it.

Growing Up Puppy!

Happy Birthday Sweet Baby Sasha!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Happy Birthday Little Brother!

Today is my baby brother's 22nd birthday. I cannot believe that he is already 22!! That makes me feel so old. LOL. We are only a couple of years apart, and we have always been close. I am so blessed by the relationship I have with him. He makes me laugh all the time, and we can have fun no matter what we do together. I have so many fun memories from when we were growing's a wonder he ever wanted to hang out with his nerdy older sister.

Despite the fact he is younger, I actually look up to him in many ways. He is so patient and kind, and he has such a genuine love and compassion for people. He has such a heart of gold and the most generous spirit I have ever seen. He really is just a big teddy bear...uh, I mean, he's such a cool, tough guy. Haha. It really has been such a privilege to grow up with him, to watch him grow into an amazing man of God. And I have not stopped thanking God for bringing him to live in the same city! It really is fun having him here, and I always enjoy the time I get to spend with him.

Michael, I love you so much, and I hope you had an awesome birthday!!! Here are some fun pictures from recent years...

Yep. That's my brother. We are related. He really is the best brother in the world :)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Hello Summer!

We have a break from BSF until September, so I had to find my own course of Bible study for the next few months. It is always a struggle for me to find the right study; there are SO many to choose from, and I always want to make it count. I am so used to the intensity and structure of BSF that I am easily bored by non-challenging studies. So after much prayer and contemplation, I decided to go with one of Beth Moore's studies- David: 90 Days With a Heart Like His. This will actually be my first Beth Moore study...I know, please hold your gasps. I have wanted to do one of her studies for so long, but the timing has just never worked out. So when this book arrived with my latest Amazon order, I was more than excited to get started! I am already a week into the study and am loving it. David has always intrigued me, so it will be interesting to learn about his life from Beth Moore's perspective. To be known through all of eternity as being a man after God's own heart...that's a guy I want to know more about! As a woman who is on her own journey to the heart of God, I figured this would be the perfect study for the summer. My prayer is that I, too, can have a heart like his...

And since we're on the subject of summer studies...I will also continue my studies for my new job. I am currently working toward my CISR (Certified Insurance Service Representative) designation. There are 5 courses required to earn this designation, and my goal is to have those done before the fall. I want to get through the courses/exams this summer, so I can have a short break before BSF starts again and before I start working toward my next designation: CIC (Certified Insurance Counselor). When it's all said and done, I will earn these 2 designations and ultimately my CPCU (Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter), which my boss says is equivalent to my Masters in insurance. I am SO grateful to my boss and my company for setting me up professionally with these designations. It is such a blessing to have a company that believes in me and that wants to set me up for success. It's just another way that God is taking care of me. Who would have thought? ENM...CISR, CIC, CPCU. haha. God is so fun!

So I have my Jesus time and my work goals set...I also have some fun thing planned for the summer!

Fun Summer Project
I am hopelessly behind on my scrapbook. With my move to Dallas and change of jobs, it just hasn't been a top priority. I mean, let's be honest: scrapbooking should never be a top priority. But it is my favorite hobby and something I have desperately missed. My overly-ambitious goal for the summer is to get completely caught up on everything. My more realistic goal is to catch up through half of 2008. I already have my scrapbooking corner all set and ready, and am starting to make headway on this time-consuming, but always relaxing, project. Right now, I am working on the trip I made to Prague my senior year at Baylor. Next, I will tackle the Washington D.C. trip. Luckily, I already have the pictures printed and the supplies for these two projects. After that though...think of the photo commercials with the people in the digital camera that get deleted because the pictures are never printed...I don't keep pictures on my camera, but I have file after file of pictures on my computer that have yet to be printed. Haha...guess I have to start somewhere, right?

Fun Summer Mini-Vacation
The highlight of my summer will most definitely be my trip to Seattle/Victoria!!! I have a business meeting in Victoria, BC in July (life's rough, I know), so I will be tacking on a few extra days to that trip to go visit my friend April in Seattle! April and I met at Baylor and worked together as Community Leaders. She moved to Seattle a year ago, and I have really missed her. So when my flight to Victoria stopped off in Seattle, I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to see my dear friend. I prayed with April for over a year, as she struggled through the desire of wanting to move to Seattle and the process of waiting on God's timing for that. I was overly ecstatic to finally see her dreams come to life as she made her way to the Pacific Northwest. Now that she has been there a year, it is amazing to see where God has taken her! I am SUPER excited to visit her and can't wait for her to show me around her favorite city, which she now calls home.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sunday Night Dinner Round 2

The guys came over again tonight for Round 2 of Sunday Night Dinner and the game. I have really enjoyed cooking for them. It's nice to have them around, and it feels good to feed them. A friend had asked me about this new "cooking phase." I told him that perhaps I was getting more in touch with my girly instincts. Lol. Whatever may be the case, I feel accomplished after each meal, and it's a way for me to spend time with my brother and feed some hungry college guys.

This week I made one of my personal favorites: Chili Lime Chicken and Strawberry Spinach Salad. Here are the recipes in case you are interested.

Chili Lime Chicken
4 tsp. Canola Oil
1 tbsp. Chili Powder
2 tbsp. Honey
1/4 cup Chopped Fresh Cilantro
2 Garlic Cloves
2 Limes
6 Boneless Chicken Breasts

Combine oil, chili powder, honey, cilantro, garlic cloves, and lime juice in a blender or food processor bowl; process to a chunky texture. Make 3 to 4 deep slashes in each chicken breast. Combine the chicken breasts and the prepared chili lime sauce in a zipper bag; seal and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours. Prepare charcoal or gas grill for cooking. Place fillets, skin side up on the hot grill and grill for 8 minutes on each side. The internal temperature should reach 170 degrees or until juices run clear. (Or you can bake the marinated chicken on 35o degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. Makes 6 servings.

Strawberry Spinach Salad
1 pkg. (5 oz.) Baby Spinach
1 quart Fresh Strawberries, stemmed and sliced
1/2 cup Sliced Almonds
1/4 cup Crumbled Feta Cheese
1/3 cup Balsamic Dressing

Layer the baby spinach, sliced strawberries, and crumbled feta cheese in a large salad bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes more. Before serving, sprinkle sliced almonds, toss and serve with balsamic dressing. Makes 8 servings
Turns out, I'm apparently not too bad at this whole cooking thing. Haha. I won't ever be a chef extraordinaire, but I can feel confident I won't be a horrible cook forever ;)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Dear Mr. Admirer,

I just wanted to take a moment and thank you for your courage and your effort. I recognize that it takes a certain amount of guts to put yourself out there to a girl you are interested in getting to know a little better. I am flattered by your interest and wish you all the best in your future endeavors with other girls. I would, however, like to offer a few pieces of advice, or rather, requests. Unfortunately, I cannot speak for most of my gender; I tend to have a fairly conservative and traditional view on things. And yes, admittedly, I tend to be a little more particular than a lot of other girls. For that, I cannot apologize any more than to the extent that you have experienced my views on this issue. With that said, please know that I have talked with others who do share some of the same views, so taking a moment to read these requests may serve you better in the future.

Request #1: Please do not ask me out through a friend. While this may have been successful in middle school, it no longer applies to adult dating world. The fact that you are not confident enough to ask me out yourself says a lot about you. If you can't ask me out face to face, how will you be able to carry on a conversation with me on a date? I understand it can be intimidating, and unfortunately, rejection will be a part of it. But you will be ok. I promise.

Request #2: Please do not ask under the "friend" guise. Ok. I realize I might be the only one who has this pet peeve. I do have to clarify. I am not talking about hanging out as friends to get to know someone in general before you know if you want to ask them out. That's ok. Try to do that in a group setting. It's less intimidating, and it takes the pressure off. What I am referring to is when you ask me out and throw in the term "friend" because you think you might have a better shot of me saying yes. First of all, I am not that stupid. Second, really??? Why would you do that? That's attempted trickery. And just not ok with me.

Request #3: Please do not ask me out at the last minute. I cannot tell you how frustrating this is. If you call to ask me out 2 hours before the event, chances are I am going to say no. It's hard to just drop everything and go. I hardly ever do that with my best friends. As a rule of thumb, same day ask is never a good thing. Show some forethought and make a plan, man!

Request #4: Please, please, PLEASE, do not EVER ask me out on Facebook. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE IS THIS EVER ACCEPTABLE. You want to know how I really feel about this? Haha. But seriously, it's not ok. I know this is the "digital age." Whatever. Facebook is so impersonal and the most un-romantic venue on the planet. Whatever happened to asking a girl out to her face? And if you are reading this, thinking to yourself, "who would do such a thing?" I say to you, it is what sparked this post to begin with. Even if I like you and want to say yes, as a rule of thumb, I will say no if you ask on Facebook. Sorry.

Request #5: When in doubt, apply the "Brad Pitt Rule." Here's how it works. If you ask me out and I make up an excuse for why I can't go, then this is the time to apply the rule. Imagine that instead of you, Brad Pitt had asked me out. More than likely, I would not say that I had to study or that I had other plans. I would probably drop pretty much anything and everything to be able to accept a date with Brad. Now, I know you are not Brad. And I am not that shallow. (And for the record, I don't even like Brad Pitt that much. But go with the illustration...) The point is: If I am interested in you, I will drop my other plans to be available to go out with you. And if I really do have other plans I can't cancel, I will suggest another time. If I make up an excuse and do not suggest an alternative plan, you have been shut out. I am not interested. Please don't ask me out again. Doing so will only result in awkwardness, and I really don't want to be mean.

Again, I wish you all the best in your future endeavors and hope these ideas help.


Requesting a Real Date Invitation

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sunday Night Dinners

Many of you know that I am not much of a cook. It's not something I particularly enjoy, mainly because I don't care that much about food. Haha. It's true; it just seems like too much work to cook for myself. Plus, then I have to eat whatever I make for 10 days straight so I don't waste anything. It's just hard to cook for one.

But recently, I have been wanting to cook a little more and try new recipes. And my brother has complained about being a poor college student who can't cook. So I decided to institute Sunday Night Dinners. This is going to give me an opportunity to practice my culinary skills, while also feeding my brother! I asked him what he wanted, and he picked Chinese food. Of course, I would agree to start with something hard, something I have never made before. But that was the deal: he picks the cuisine, I pick the menu and go from there. And I was determined. So I headed over to Central Market to gather my ingredients...can I just say that I am a HUGE fan of Central Market? It's the kind of place where you can't help but be inspired to cook.

I have to say that I am very proud of myself on successfully cooking my first Chinese meal! I made (from scratch) sesame chicken, orange chicken, and spicy lo mein noodles. I cheated with the rice and egg rolls...those came from a box. Haha. Oh well. But I had rave reviews from my first 2 guinea pigs (my brother brought his roommate). Woohoo! Check out this presentation:

Of course, my cooking experience would not be complete without a little excitement...I did manage to start a small grease fire, fill the apartment with smoke, and set off the fire alarm. Other than the fact that there was a scary fire in my kitchen, it was kind of funny. I was running back and forth between the fire and the smoke alarm, trying to extinguish the fire, and trying to fan a towel to stop the alarm from screeching. I had all the windows and doors open before the event was over. Needless to say, my next kitchen purchase will be a deep fryer. I would not recommend trying to deep fry anything without one. Sasha decided she would stay as far away from the kitchen as she could...she wasn't too confident in my cooking skills.

So here are some tidbits of wisdom from my first Sunday Night Dinner:

How to extinguish a grease fire: DO NOT USE WATER ON A GREASE FIRE. Smother/choke the fire. Use a pot lid or baking soda. If the fire grows larger than the one I experienced, get everyone out and call 911. And if the recipe says to use a deep fryer, use a deep fryer, not your frying pan.
Make sure to test your smoke alarm often: It's important to feel confident it will work for you when you need it. The batteries do go dead from time to time, so make sure to test the alarm at least once a month to make sure it will work when you need it the most.
Don't be afraid to make a mess: Has anyone ever heard that the best cooks are the ones who are messy? I agree with that thought. I tend to make a lot of messes...and what's the point in cleaning as you go if you are only going to make a mess all over again. It's better to concentrate on the cooking (and making sure your kitchen is not catching on fire) and worry about the cleaning later. Just be prepared for the potential disaster you might find when you are done...

Monday, June 1, 2009


Tonight I was able to attend Communion Dinner with my 20s group. It was such a blessing to be a part of this special evening, as Mondays I am usually at leader's meeting. As we broke bread and shared a meal together, and then moved into celebrating the Lord's Supper, I couldn't help but imagine what it would have been like for Jesus as He did the same with His closest friends. As I looked around the room at all of the faces that were strangers just months ago, but who are now among those I count as friends and most importantly fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, I was taken aback by God's love and provision. To be able to share in such community...I am so grateful for that! There is nothing like fellowshipping with others believers. Nothing like praying for one another or lifting our voices as one to the Holy Creator God who was gracious enough to bring us together. I was so overwhelmed by God's love and His perfect design of community. As I fall asleep tonight, I am praising God for all He has provided, for all He has given, for who He is...

You are Lord of Lords, You are King of Kings
You are Mighty God, Lord of everything
You're Emmanuel, You're the Great I Am
You're the Prince of Peace, who is the Lamb
You're my Living God, You're my Saving Grace
You will reign forever, You are Ancient of Days
You are Alpha, Omega, Beginning, and End
You're my Savior, Messiah, Redeemer, and Friend
You're my Prince of Peace and
I will live my life for You